Guess how many ESPN "experts" picked the Sox to make the playoffs

ESPN, the self-proclaimed "World Wide Leader in Sports" released their 2013 season predictions this weekend, and guess what? No respect for the Red Sox. I know they play in the toughest division in baseball. I know they're coming off a 69-93 record. I know John Lackey is still on the team. But you'd think that more than nine percent would pick the Sox to make the playoffs, and more than ZERO percent would pick the Sox to win the East.

ESPN's 43 experts included some legitimately smart baseball minds (David Schoenfield, Dave Cameron, Jayson Stark) and some legitimate hacks (Aaron Boone, Curt Schilling, Gordon Edes). Only four of the forty-three playoff predictors picked the Red Sox to make the playoffs, all via the Wild Card. To be fair to ESPN, who always gets blamed for loving the Red Sox and Yankees, only six experts picked New York to make the playoffs, one picking them to win the East. Six also picked the Orioles to make the playoffs, two having them win the East. Thirty-four have the Rays making the playoffs, twenty of them picking them to win the East. Eighteen picked the Blue Jays to win the East, with twelve others picking them to earn a Wild Card berth.

It's important to remember that a.) ESPN will do whatever it can to get attention (they will pick the Blue Jays to win so they can talk about the Blue Jays on TV because everyone loves talking about teams with super stars) and b.) baseball is very unpredictable, as many of these experts will look silly come October (the 2012 ESPN consensus was that the Angels and Diamondbacks would meet in the World Series -- neither made the playoffs).

I understand the Red Sox not being a popular pick for the playoffs. They're coming off of a terrible year, did not make any huge additions, and it's much easier to be trendy and pick the Blue Jays who traded for half of the 2012 Miami Marlins. But flashback to a year ago when 57% of ESPN's experts picked those same Marlins to make the playoffs; Miami finished with the same record as Boston.

Every team in the AL East has warts. Baltimore made no off-season acquisitions, and were the luckiest team in baseball last year. The Rays still continue to have no offense. The Blue Jays have health question marks (Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista). The Yankees have stumbled upon the Fountain of Old.

The Red Sox were one of the least luckiest teams last year, replaced a cancerous starting pitcher with one who has a 3.74 ERA the past 5 season, have one of the best bullpens in baseball, and actually have a clubhouse that players want to be in. I've got them penciled in for a playoff spot, and I don't really care that ESPN does not...although the last 500 words would suggest that I do care.

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